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What are we doing?

Current activities

Diversity, equity & inclusion in CEE’s culture and infrastructure

New teaching evaluation questions in the College of Engineering (CEE student petition item)

Starting in spring 2021, teaching evaluations included questions regarding class climate. At present (Winter-Spring 2022), we are working to evaluate those data.

DEI Moment at faculty meetings

As of January 2021, each CEE faculty meeting includes a DEI Moment where we share a best practice or feature a DEI initiative in the department. This time is intended to share knowledge and highlight the importance of continuous improvement on DEI issues.

Pursuing equitable bathrooms

More Hall, which houses much of our department, is an old building that previously had too few women's restrooms and no dedicated options for people who are non-binary. With input from the department and the college, we added a gender-neutral bathroom on the 3rd floor. In 2022, the department plans to have the 2nd floor bathroom renovation completed, which includes both gender-neutral and ADA-compliant (i.e., wheelchair-accessible) options, as well as a gender-neutral bathroom added on the 1st floor.

DEI metrics (CEE student petition item)

We are compiling DEI-relevant metrics for the CEE community. These include student body demographics, faculty salary reviews by gender and race, and admissions data. We developed and administered a DEI survey, taken by the whole department. These data are intended to guide future CEE DEI initiatives as well as serve as a benchmark to measure future progress.

Family friendly promotion, tenure and leave

As of Fall 2021, our faculty are collaborating with the College of Engineering to create more family friendly promotion and tenure guidance that better supports faculty with significant caregiving responsibilities. The evidence suggests this changed guidance would be particularly impactful for our female engineering faculty. In 2022, CEE documented "best practices" for parental leave for birth parents and new non-birth parents.

Microaggressions in CEE

As mentioned above, we conducted a DEI survey during spring quarter 2021. Responses indicate that students experience microaggressions, including from other students. We currently are investigating possible trainings our department could enact on our own or with other departments.

Diversity, equity and inclusion in our curricula

Adding DEI content to CEE courses (CEE student petition item)

The CEE Undergrad Education Committee surveyed faculty in late summer 2021 regarding what DEI content is present in our curriculum. The purpose is to document current content, additions and changes over time. Multiple classes have added DEI course content. During 2021-2022 the Undergrad Education Committee will share this information across the department, so faculty may learn from and build on each other’s work.

Promoting the use of DEI-relevant pedagogy in our department

We are exploring, sharing, and promoting teaching practices that support DEI outcomes within our department. In Winter 2021, we held a workshop, led by the UW Center for Teaching and Learning, on inclusive teaching; this workshop targeted teaching faculty in the department. We plan to have similar trainings during 2022-2023.

Dedicated DEI course on CEE topics (CEE student petition item)

In Spring 2021, we offered two grad/undergrad classes: a 1-credit seminar on discussing DEI topics in CEE (lead: J Marshall), and a 3-credit class on Environment, Engineering, and Justice (lead: K Kadir from UC Berkeley). In Spring 2022, the 1-credit seminar on discussing DEI topics was increased to a 2-credit class (lead: J Marshall). In Spring 2023, a class is expected to be taught (lead: K Kadir).

Exploring a graduate certificate in social justice & engineering

We are currently planning a new graduate certificate in social justice. During 2022-2023, we are designing courses to support this certificate.

Educating ourselves about diversity, equity and inclusion

Weekly DEI work sessions

The DEI Committee holds weekly DEI work sessions, where faculty and staff on the DEI committee commit an hour per week to jointly learning or taking action on DEI issues in addition to the time they spend independently.

Gathering department-wide input

To provide an opportunity for students, staff and faculty to anonymously share their experiences in our department, we regularly hold department-wide town halls and listening sessions. We thank all attendees for their participation.

Trainings and self-education opportunities

Many of our faculty, staff and students have participated in trainings and completed readings about systematic racism, systemic bias and other DEI topics, and how to work toward solutions. Last year (2020-2021) CEE staff and faculty each established an anti-racism reading group specifically for staff and faculty members; we are discussing restarting those groups.

CEE faculty and staff training

Formal DEI training sessions for faculty and staff were held in March 2021, consisting of three two-hour workshops. In addition, in April 2021, we held a workshop on inclusive teaching (“Inclusive Pedagogies: Centering Equity in Learning Environments”), organized by the UW Center for Teaching and Learning. We anticipate additional training sessions during the 2021-2022 academic year.

Completed activities

GRE no longer needed for graduate student applications

GRE scores are no longer required for graduate degree applications. GRE scores were optional for fall 2020 due to COVID-19 and excluded from applications beginning in fall 2021. This shift is motivated in part by COVID-19 and in part by concerns regarding equity issues and the GRE’s utility in predicting academic success. 

Picture a Scientist movie screening

In collaboration with the Dean’s office, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE), we worked to enable a College of Engineering-wide February screening of Picture a Scientist, which showcases gender equity issues in science and engineering.

Promotion and tenure criteria that rewards DEI efforts (CEE student petition item)

Our DEI Committee is working with the College of Engineering (CoE) Dean’s Office to support updates to the Engineering Promotion and Tenure faculty toolkit that explicitly recognize and reward faculty DEI efforts. Fall 2020 status: In September 2020, the CoE Dean’s Office approved the language changes we proposed. We will continue to track and support these changes.

Pandemic caregiving support for the CEE community

The ongoing global pandemic is having enormous consequences for faculty, staff and students, especially those who have caregiver responsibilities. Seattle Public Schools have moved online for Fall 2020, which will strongly impact families in Seattle. While the pandemic is far from over, the university has now taken on a number of programs – something that as a department we are too small to initiate. We have listed below some of the activities.

Our department chair has talked with faculty members, especially female faculty members, who statistically are disproportionately impacted by caregiving responsibilities, to determine accommodations for the caregivers in our community. She has given recommendations to UW’s newly established Caregivers Committee, is investigating teaching and service loads for faculty and has reached out to connect with students who are parents. See Caring for self and family and COVID-19 Caregiver Task Force for more information.

Fostering inclusivity through a virtual cajitas project

Led by CEE graduate students, and inspired by an anti-racism online training many CEE community members participated in, we are implementing a version of a cajitas project. The goal is to help foster an inclusive community for new undergraduate students in our department. Cajitas (small wooden boxes filled with family artifacts and belongings) were carried by Mexican migrants; in this virtual version, incoming students provide a short video introducing something meaningful to them to their fellow students and the department. Fall 2020 status: Implemented.

Website updates

We have extensively revised the CEE DEI website. New features include clear statements about our values, an anonymous DEI feedback form, data from the first listening session, and an itemized list of concrete DEI progress within the department. Spring 2021 status: Implemented.

An archive of prior versions of this web page is available.